Ever jump on a treadmill and see the setting for 'fat-burning zone'? Sure, you can burn fat during exercise but it's not your body's first choice. If those predetermined workouts were that efficient at burning fat, would most people use any other option?
The truth about using body fat for energy is that the only time 100% of the calories burned come from fat stores is when we are at complete rest, meaning asleep. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
It's not, though, and it's what makes eliminating a late-night snack such a powerful weight-loss strategy. Think about it – if you settle on the couch to watch your favorite TV show with a bowl of ice cream (which is very likely to be more than the half-cup serving size), and then, once asleep, your body has to work through that energy (calories) before tapping into reserves of stored fat. However, if you refrain from eating after 7 pm, your body will have time to digest your dinner and, once asleep, you're body will recharge with energy from body fat.
I'm not a big fan of cold-turkey solutions. If it works for you, then go for it, but I've learned to be patient in changing my habits because I'm looking for a better way of living the rest of my life.
So, if you're in the habit of a bedtime treat, find an option that is lower in sugar and less processed but similar to your favorite dessert. A serving of hot oatmeal with butter and a tablespoon of raw sugar can feel so decadent when you think of it as a treat.
And, that ice cream?? Go ahead and indulge if you want. Enjoy it earlier in the day when you're still active and make it an event, not something consumed passively.